Yet, the pure volume and disheartening report from the box score statistics tells an even more gruesome story. All the numbers below are via Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Play Index tool.
Overall, the Browns ran 72 plays on Sunday: 59 pass (6 sacks), 13 runs. The breakdown of plays by down is shown below:
First down plays (30): 20 pass, 10 rush.
Second down plays (24): 21 pass, 3 rush.
Third down plays (14): 14 pass.
Fourth down plays (4): 4 pass.
It’s pretty astounding that the Browns passed on 21 out of 24 second-down opportunities in a game where they were almost always down just one score. It’s perhaps because 17 of these 24 second-down plays had 8+ yards to go. Of those 21 pass attempts, two resulted in a sack and 14 resulted in a completion. At least the Browns managed to get 10 first downs on these plays, which is an OK number all things considered.
Brandon Weeden’s net yards per attempt (which factors in sacks and sack yards) in the game was 4.14. Among NFL teams in Week 1 so far, only Jacksonville (2.48) had worse. The NFL average is only 6.48. Last season, Weeden’s net yards per attempt was 5.84 and the NFL average was also a much higher 8.87.
Trent Richardson gained an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Last season, he also averaged exactly 3.6 yards per carry on his 17.8 attempts per game. This was a topic I featured in last week’s edition of The Diff. The average NFL rush play in Week 1 so far has gained only 3.43 yards per attempt. In 2012, that number was 4.26.
The Browns offense has been the fourth-least efficient in football in Week One so far, averaging just 4.0 yards per play from scrimmage. The three teams worse are Pittsburgh (3.7), Tennessee (3.6) and Jacksonville (2.5). The Browns averaged 5.0 yards per play last season and the NFL’s worst team was Arizona at 4.1.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.